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Latest News and Research

Fast-flowing electrons may mimic astrophysical dynamos

A powerful engine roils deep beneath our feet, converting energy in the Earth’s core into magnetic fields that shield us from the solar wind. Similar engines drive the magnetic activity of the sun, other stars and even other planets—all of which create magnetic fields that reinforce themselves and feed back into the engines to keep them running.Much about these engines, which scientists refer to as dynamos, remains unknown. That’s partly because the math behind them is doubly difficult, combining the complex equations of fluid motion with the equations that govern how electric and magnetic fields bend, twist, interact and propagate.... Continue Reading

Black holes: The ultimate cosmic whisks
Chaos. Time travel. Quantum entanglement. Each may play a role in figuring out whether black holes are the universe’s ultimate information scramblers. In this episode of Relatively Certain, Chris sits down with Brian Swingle, a QuICS Fellow and assistant professor of physics at UMD, to learn about some of the latest theoretical research on black holes—and how experiments to test some of these theories are getting tantalizingly close. Continue Reading
Modified superconductor synapse reveals exotic electron behavior
Scientists see signs of quantum states with boosted immunity.

Electrons tend to avoid one another as they go about their business carrying current. But certain devices, cooled to near zero temperature, can coax these loner particles out of their shells. In extreme cases, electrons will interact in unusual ways, causing strange quantum entities to emerge. At the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), Jimmy Williams’ group is working to develop new circuitry that could host such exotic states. These states have a feature that may make them useful in future quantum computers: They appear to be inherently protected from the destructive but unavoidable imperfections found in fabricated circuits. As described recently in Physical... Continue Reading

JQI scientists Monroe and Gorshkov are part of a new, $15 million NSF quantum computing project

NSF has announced a $15 million award to a collaboration of seven institutions, including the University of Maryland. The goal: Build the world’s first practical quantum computer."Quantum computers will change everything about the technology we use and how we use it, and we are still taking the initial steps toward realizing this goal," said NSF Director France Córdova. "Developing the first practical quantum computer would be a major milestone. By bringing together experts who have outlined a path to a practical quantum computer and supporting its development, NSF is working to take the quantum revolution from theory to reality."Dubbed the... Continue Reading

Complexity test offers new perspective on small quantum computers

State-of-the-art quantum devices are not yet large enough to be called full-scale computers. The biggest comprise just a few dozen qubits—a meager count compared to the billions of bits in an ordinary computer’s memory. But steady progress means that these machines now routinely string together 10 or 20 qubits and may soon hold sway over 100 or more.In the meantime, researchers are busy dreaming up uses for small quantum computers and mapping out the landscape of problems they’ll be suited to solving. A paper by researchers from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and... Continue Reading

Semiconductor quantum transistor opens the door for photon-based computing

Transistors are tiny switches that form the bedrock of modern computing—billions of them route electrical signals around inside a smartphone, for instance.

Quantum computers will need analogous hardware to manipulate quantum information. But the design constraints for this new technology are stringent, and today’s most advanced processors can’t be repurposed as quantum devices. That’s because quantum information carriers, dubbed qubits, have to follow different rules laid out by quantum physics. 

Scientists can use many kinds of quantum particles as qubits, even the photons that make up light. Photons have added appeal because they can swiftly shuttle information over long distances and they are compatible with fabricated chips. However, making a quantum transistor triggered by light has been challenging because it requires...Continue Reading

Quantum gas reveals first signs of path-bending monopole

Magnets, whether in the form of a bar, horseshoe or electromagnet, always have two poles. If you break a magnet in half, you’ll end up with two new magnets, each with its own magnetic north and south.But some physics theories predict the existence of single-pole magnets—a situation akin to electric charges, which come in either positive or negative chunks. One particular incarnation—called the Yang monopole after its discoverer—was originally predicted in the context of high-energy physics, but it has never been observed. Now, a team at JQI led by postdoctoral researcher Seiji Sugawa and JQI Fellow Ian Spielman have succeeded in... Continue Reading

Eliot Fenton recognized as a Maryland ‘Undergraduate Researcher of the Year’

Eliot Fenton, UMD physics major, was among those recognized as a 2018 Maryland ‘Undergraduate Researcher of the Year.’ This award is eligible for exemplary seniors who have been nominated by their faculty advisors.  Fenton earned this award for his wide-ranging experimental physics research accomplishments.

From 2015-2017 Fenton worked on optical nanofibers with JQI Fellow and UMD Physics Professor Luis Orozco. Recently, Fenton along with fellow undergraduate researcher Adnan Khan (now a graduate student at University of Washington), together with colleagues, published a study of how light interacts with an optical nanofiber’s mechanical movements. Last year, Fenton co-authored a paper that detailed precise measurements of an...Continue Reading

Latest News and Research

  • Fast-flowing electrons may mimic astrophysical dynamos

    A powerful engine roils deep beneath our feet, converting energy in the Earth’s core into magnetic fields that shield us from the solar wind. Similar engines drive the magnetic activity of the sun, other stars and even other planets—all of which create magnetic fields that reinforce themselves and feed back into the engines to keep them running.Much about these engines, which scientists refer... Continue Reading

  • Black holes: The ultimate cosmic whisks
    Chaos. Time travel. Quantum entanglement. Each may play a role in figuring out whether black holes are the universe’s ultimate information scramblers. In this episode of Relatively Certain, Chris sits down with Brian Swingle, a QuICS Fellow and assistant professor of physics at UMD, to learn about some of the latest theoretical research on black holes—and how experiments to test some of these... Continue Reading
  • Modified superconductor synapse reveals exotic electron behavior
    Scientists see signs of quantum states with boosted immunity.

    Electrons tend to avoid one another as they go about their business carrying current. But certain devices, cooled to near zero temperature, can coax these loner particles out of their shells. In extreme cases, electrons will interact in unusual ways, causing strange quantum entities to emerge. At the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), Jimmy Williams’ group is working to develop new circuitry that... Continue Reading

  • JQI scientists Monroe and Gorshkov are part of a new, $15 million NSF quantum computing project

    NSF has announced a $15 million award to a collaboration of seven institutions, including the University of Maryland. The goal: Build the world’s first practical quantum computer."Quantum computers will change everything about the technology we use and how we use it, and we are still taking the initial steps toward realizing this goal," said NSF Director France Córdova. "Developing the first... Continue Reading

  • Complexity test offers new perspective on small quantum computers

    State-of-the-art quantum devices are not yet large enough to be called full-scale computers. The biggest comprise just a few dozen qubits—a meager count compared to the billions of bits in an ordinary computer’s memory. But steady progress means that these machines now routinely string together 10 or 20 qubits and may soon hold sway over 100 or more.In the meantime, researchers are busy... Continue Reading

  • Semiconductor quantum transistor opens the door for photon-based computing
  • Quantum gas reveals first signs of path-bending monopole

    Magnets, whether in the form of a bar, horseshoe or electromagnet, always have two poles. If you break a magnet in half, you’ll end up with two new magnets, each with its own magnetic north and south.But some physics theories predict the existence of single-pole magnets—a situation akin to electric charges, which come in either positive or negative chunks. One particular incarnation—called the... Continue Reading

  • Eliot Fenton recognized as a Maryland ‘Undergraduate Researcher of the Year’

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